Now, Italy Senator Wants Women To Make Maternity Their Aspiration

Senator Lavinia Mennuni's recent remarks on women's mission spark renewed debate on female autonomy. Mennuni's assertion that young women's "first aspiration" should be to have children prompted widespread discussion.

Oshi Saxena
New Update
Lavinia Mennuni

Lavinia Mennuni | Image credit: LA7

In today's world, where leaders are entrusted with steering the course of nations and cities, an unsettling trend has emerged. The discourse on women's autonomy, particularly regarding their aspirations and priorities, has become a subject of intense scrutiny. This scrutiny is prompted by leaders who, under the guise of safeguarding traditions and battling declining birth rates, seek to dictate what should be a woman's first aspiration and what should be her last.


Senator Lavinia Mennuni, a prominent figure within the right-wing party of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni,  expressed a viewpoint that has ignited a debate on the role of women in society. Mennuni's assertion that young women's "first aspiration" should be to have children reflects the party's preference for reversing Italy's declining birth rate and championing the traditional family structure, but why is women's priority not in question?

The Imposition Of Women's Priorities

Senator Mennuni, in a televised talk show on La7 TV channel, reminisced about her mother's guidance: "You must always remember that you have the opportunity to do whatever you want, but you must never forget that your first aspiration must be to be a mother yourself."

The assertion, part of a broader initiative by the right-wing party in Italy, raises poignant questions about the right of women to determine their destinies. Why, in the 21st century, are leaders still attempting to prescribe the primary goals of women, relegating personal aspirations to a secondary status?

During the discussion, Mennuni also emphasized the need for Italian and Vatican institutions to make maternity "cool" again. In her view, there is a societal mission for women to bring children into the world, shaping the future citizens of Italy. 

The backdrop of battling declining birth rates and population decline is a noble cause, undoubtedly. However, the question that begs an answer is whether such a battle should be waged at the expense of a woman's autonomy. The imposition of a singular identity, where being a mother is portrayed as the quintessential element of a woman's existence, raises concerns about the preservation of traditions at the cost of individual freedom.


Opposition Voices And Contemporary Perspectives

Unsurprisingly, Senator Mennuni's remarks have sparked criticism from opposition figures. Senator Raffaella Paita, representing the centrist Italia Viva party, characterized Mennuni's comments as "an embarrassing backwardness." Chiara Appendino, a lawmaker with the left-leaning Five Star Movement, accused the Brothers of Italy party of suffering from "Medieval nostalgia" and advocated for teaching young women "the freedom to dream and the means to accomplish themselves as they wish."

Historical Precedents: A Troubling Pattern

This is not an isolated incident. Throughout history, notable instances persist, such as Russian President Putin urging women to bear 8 or more children and North Korea's Kim Jong Un emotionally appealing to increase childbirth. Global leaders, contending with dwindling birth rates and population decline, recurrently resort to emphasizing a woman's role solely as a mother to preserve traditions. The narrative is clear: to save traditions, women must prioritize being mothers above all else. But can this mission only be accomplished by curtailing a woman's autonomy and defining her identity in singular terms?

Challenging The Status Quo

The fundamental question arises: Why can't leaders trust women to decide for themselves? The narrative that a woman's identity is limited to being a mother, with everything else considered secondary, perpetuates outdated norms and stifles the diverse dreams and aspirations of women. It challenges the very essence of autonomy and self-determination.


A Legislative Proposal And Ongoing Discourse

This isn't the first time Senator Mennuni has courted controversy. Recently, she proposed a bill aiming to prevent school directors from halting Catholic-themed activities in schools. This legislative push raises concerns about the broader implications of leaders intervening in matters that should be personal and individual choices.

The path forward necessitates a shift in perspective. Instead of clinging to archaic notions that confine women to predefined roles, leaders should champion a society where women are free to choose their paths. Empowering women to define their identities beyond motherhood is not a threat to tradition; it's a celebration of progress and inclusivity. It is imperative that leaders pave the way for autonomy, breaking free from the shackles of preconceived notions and fostering a future where women are architects of their destinies.

Kim Jong-un Vladimir Putin Giorgia Meloni Italy Senator Mennuni